After playing without center David Krejci for the second time this season in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday, on Friday, the Boston Bruins found out that they will once again be without their second line pivot when they faceoff against the Maple Leafs in Toronto Saturday night. Unfortunately for the Bruins though, the injury news didn’t stop there as head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed that not only would Krejci be out again but forward Joakim Nordstrom would miss his fourth game of this young season and that neither player would travel with the team to Toronto for the big Atlantic Division tilt at Scotia Bank Place.
While that was obviously not good news for the Bruins, there is a chance, it could get worse as center Patrice Bergeron did not practice Friday after blocking a shot Thursday night. Head coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t seem too concerned that his top center wouldn’t be able to suit up Saturday night, but he didn’t rule it out either.
“I don’t believe there is,” Cassidy answered when asked if there’s a chance the Bruins best center could be out of the lineup in Toronto. “But he didn’t go out [for practice], so I’d better make sure.”
Regardless of Bergeron’s status, forward David Backes will draw back into the lineup and the Bruins will likely make a call-up from Providence.
“We have Backes as an extra that sat out,” said Cassidy. “With Nordy being out, he could slide in there [on the fourth line]. We may decide to get someone from Providence to get a different look there. [Anders] Bjork’s been playing well down there, [Brendan] Gaunce has been playing well down there, [Peter] Cehlarik. Those are the names I heard, amongst others. They could be potential guys. I’ll talk to [general manager Don Sweeney] about that now.”
Is Bjork Ready To Return To NHL?
With the Bruins lack of depth scoring thus far, there has been a clamoring from fans and some media in the last week for the Bruins to call Bjork up regardless of any injuries at the NHL level as the skilled winger is off to a fast start with the P-Bruins with three goals and three goals and three assists in five games thus far. While Cassidy praised the 2014 fifth round pick (146th overall) Friday, he cautioned that as of now, there may not be a spot for Bjork to return and succeed. The left wing on each line is pretty much set right now, so that means Bjork would need to slot in on the right and Cassidy isn’t sure such a switch would benefit Bjork or the Bruins right now.
“We wanted him to go down and find his offensive game and he has,” Cassidy told the media Friday. “Is it enough of a sample size to say he’s ready to play in the NHL? Until we bring him up that’s a hard question to answer. We wanted it to be a prolonged amount of time, whether that was one month, 10 days, two months. Five games is probably a little bit of a short sample supply, but he certainly has passed the test down there if we decide to go that way.
That’s the other thing. We’d like him to go in on the left side where he’s been playing, where he played in camp. Ideally, to bring him up and then put him in a position to not succeed is not something we would want to do in a perfect world. But Danton [Heinen] could move over. Nordy’s not traveling, so there’s an opportunity, we’d just have to drop some guys down.”